Pandora: A fee to turn up? What would Sir Alan say?

Whoops!
Pandora suspects someone might have got the wrong end of the fame stick, so to speak.

As anyone who owns a television will know, Philip Taylor, is the not-terribly-bright candidate in The Apprentice currently embroiled in a romance with the considerably more promising, and not at all unphotogenic, Kate Walsh.

Tragically, Taylor was booted off Sir Alan Sugar's programme last week after dismally failing to flog a second-hand carpet. Not that he seems too worried, indeed, he has found plenty to entertain him elsewhere: a scantily-clad photoshoot in Heat magazine and a heart-rending account in The News Of The World of his romance with Ms Walsh. But it appears he may be developing airs just a tad above his pay grade. We are told he was invited to walk the red carpet at Mayfair's Curzon cinema before the London premiere of Martina Cole's The Take – but refused, unless he was paid a fee.

"You have to admire the chutzpah and of asking, but to be honest it was an honour that he was even invited," says our mole.

The less mercenary guests included Cherie Lunghi and Michelle Collins. "Funnily enough," adds our mole, "None of the premiere guests asked for, or received, a penny for turning up."

I'm alive, notes Attenborough

"I wish to make it clear that I am very much alive and kicking," a defiant Lord Richard Attenborough announced yesterday, in an attempt to deflect rumours that he was too unwell to continue working.

Apparently, the legendary auteur, 85, had begun to fear the persistent rumours would have a knock-on effect on his career. "To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports regarding the demise of my career have been greatly exaggerated," insisted the peer. "It remains my intention to take up offers."

Whelan is called back to the bar

Charlie Whelan has been conspicuously absent of late – seeking refuge, perhaps, from the messy aftermath of "Smeargate" (he was copied into Damian McBride's offending emails). Alas, no longer. Brown's belligerent ex-spinner was seen enjoying the Commons bar on Wednesday, at the launch of Whitehall: The Street That Shaped A Nation by Colin Brown, formerly of this parish. Also in attendance: MPs David Davis and Harry Cohen, recently enjoying their own expenses-related notoriety. Did they ask Charlie for advice, we wonder?

Insult to injury, Dave? Maybe...

Pandora very much hopes that Dave Gahan isn't in too much pain.

As you may already have heard, the Depeche Mode frontman has been forced to cancel several of his band's performances after being suddenly hospitalised. Now we hear of another "incident" afflicting the poor man. Apparently, the bed-ridden singer is being serenaded by Israel's answer to Robbie Williams (could you think of a more wonderful concept? Pandora certainly couldn't).

Feast your eyes, then, upon Aviv Geffen (slogan: "If there is God, I hope he is playing guitar"). Let us pray the performance has prompted a speedy recovery from Gahan. Who knows, there may be an encore in order.

Blogger Watson logs off (again)

Just as Charlie Whelan starts showing his face again, Pandora has noticed another notable absence from the public domain: the Labour MP Tom Watson, who appears to have taken a hiatus from the blogosphere. The usually hyperactive blogger has virtually disappeared – only weeks after breaking his prolonged silence brought on by "Smeargate". Surely no coincidence that this self-imposed gag arrives during the week in which he is caught claiming expenses on pizza wheels, hotels and toiletries.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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